The Cleantech Forum in Toronto has attracted a wide range of startups seeking first or second rounds of venture-capital financing, including companies focused on wave energy and on growing algae for biofuels.
Nigel Protter, CEO of wave-energy company Syncwave Energy, is on the hunt for $6.5 million for a demonstration project in its home province of British Columbia, Canada.
The company claims it can generate electricity from ocean power for 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, starting with remote off-grid niche markets and leading to larger-scale grid connection in 2010.
"We have five customers waiting to buy our wave system when we can build them," he said.
Advocates say wave power could bring mass quantities of renewable energy to the market at affordable prices, but the technology has remained costly so far and hasn't yet been proven in large projects.
Other wave-energy companies include Pelamis Wave Power, AW Energy and Finavera, to name a few.
Diversified Energy of Gilbert, Ariz., is trying to perfect the process for growing algae and then for converting the oil-rich slime into a range of biofuels, including gasoline and jet fuel.
CEO Phillip Brown said the company has a horizontal algae-production system that can produce 150 tons of algae biomass per acre per year at a cost of $32,000.
The system is entrenched in the ground and, once harvested, the algae go through a proprietary three-step process to create the equivalent of conventional fuels.
The company has already raised $5.9 million in startup and angel funding, but is seeking another $10 million to develop a 10- to 40-acre algae field and a 20,000-gallon-per-year biofuel-production plant.
With the technology, Brown said his company is capable of producing biofuels at one-tenth the cost of conventional algae-to-fuel processes.
"The economics here are compelling," he said.
Other companies, including GreenFuel Technologies, Live Fuels, Solazyme and Aurora BioFuels, also are developing algae technologies for biofuels.